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Tired courtroom warriors stoic

india Updated: Sep 30, 2010 10:22 IST
Gaurav Saigal

There’s hardly any space to sit in the 10 feet by 6 feet guestroom at Mohammad Hashim Ansari’s house on Wednesday morning. Visitors and policemen are keeping him busy.

With a dozen cops guarding his house, the representative of the Sunni Waqf Board – one of the two main litigants in the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit – Ansari waits in a corner to greet visitors.

“I have turned 90. All efforts for talks have gone in vain. Let me now hear the judgment and die peacefully,” he said. He has made up his mind to accept the verdict – whatever it may be – and not to go to the Supreme Court.

A three-judge Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court will give its verdict on the 60-year-old Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi title suit at 3.30 pm on Thursday.

Ansari has installed a television set in his room and hopes that there won’t be a power cut at that time.

His friend and rival in the court for the last six decades, 82-year-old Mahant Bhaskar Das of Nirmohi Akhara has only a few disciples at the Naka Hanuman Garhi campus a day before the verdict.

“With diabetes and heart problem, it is difficult for me to visit the court. I have asked the lawyers to tell me the judgment on the phone,” he said.

The six-decade-long struggle has softened Ansari, too. “How long will I live now? Let the lawyers do what they want. I have given them full authority.”

There was a similar scene depicting disinterest at the crowded Baba Shree Mani Ramdas Chavni, where Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, president of the Ram Janam Bhumi Nyas Samiti, another petitioner in the title suit, lives.

Sitting outside the building, a few armed cops and devotees had little work for the day. Visitors who came to see Gopal Das – or Maharaj, as he is called by his disciples – had to return without even meeting him.

“Maharaj will not meet anyone till the judgment is pronounced. He has even refused to get photographed,” said one of the residents of the chavni.